Further development of the Mill Pond Raceway has been put on hold until appeals can be heard in front of a Spokane County Hearing Examiner in early January 2021. The appeals are in response to a “Determination of Non-Significance” issued by Spokane County Public Works on August 24, 2020. This determination declared the area “does not have a probable significant adverse impact on the environment.” Concerned residents disagree with this assessment. When an exact date for the hearing is confirmed, the public will be given advance notice with time permitted to submit additional comments and/or concerns.
Developer Joe Hilderbrand chose the northwest Deer Park location not only because he lives in the region, but also because the 115 acres of land was already zoned “light industrial,” a designation which would allow for racetracks and other sporting/spectator sports. After completing his application for the Mill Pond Raceway May 2019, concerned citizens began to oppose the project. A petition with over sixty signatures was gathered, and one anonymous citizen mailed postcards to residents in the area asking them to contact Commissioner Joshua Kerns to stop the project. Commissioner Joshua Kerns said he did receive about 80 complaints via email and phone messages, but also stated, “this matter will not come before the Board of County Commissioners since the proposed facility is an outright use.” This means the area is properly zoned for this type of proposed activity and no change in designation is necessary; therefore, it would not involve the Board of County Commissioners but be heard in front of the County’s Hearing Examiner.
The list of concerns raised by citizens included traffic, noise, crime, wildlife, and water resources. The response to the majority of these concerns was each matter could be handled by observing codes already on the books, or, as in the case of wildlife/water issues, it was not considered an issue because the project already allows for a 250’ buffer zone from all wetlands. The Comment Review and Threshold Determination Summary ended with the conclusion: “Based on this review, Spokane County Public Works has made a threshold Determination of NonSignificance for this project as potential impacts can be addressed during the permitting process and under current regulations.” It is this decision that is being appealed before a County Hearing Examiner February 10 at 9:00 am via a Zoom meeting. Further details of this meeting will be published January 19 in the Legal Notices section of the Spokesman Review, or can be viewed at the Spokane County website: DPGazette.com/hearingex. Once at the site, click on the “Hearing Agendas & Decisions” link in the left column.